Happily and ever after…?

With the Election Commission fixing the days of poll festivities, if one may dare say so, in the planet’s largest democracy, the time has arrived to focus on poll weddings and divorces. Political alliances are formed meticulously taking into account factors like demographic patterns, winning possibilities of a certain party, figuring out political strongholds and ratings of candidates on popularity chart among voters to attract as many beeps on the electronic voting machines possible. More the votes greater are the chances to control the pedestal of power.

In a democracy like ours with numerous political parties and a medley of population divided in all possible forms of caste, creed and religion, forming poll alliances isn’t like a scooping cheese from a can. It is like eating a fish negotiating with all its myriad bones, lest they prick your jaw.

Creating a happy-for-all environment is no mean job. The moment a strong member in an alliance is unhappy it automatically threatens to topple the whole group. This immediately leads to hectic parleys with political masterminds weaving out new combinations and permutations and compromises to keep the ship afloat. The recent fallout between Congress and Left over the India-US nuclear deal bears testimony to the fragility of a political alliance. Even as Left departed the United Progressive Alliance conglomeration then, unhappy with the 123 Agreement, the Samajwadi Party pitched in responding to an SOS call and saved the Congress-led Union government. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government survived the ordeal with 275 votes favouring it as against 256 in the Parliament on 22 July 2008.

Immediately, political pundits considered the friendship as a perfect answer to the high-handedness of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party. Newspaper columns were filled in and footages flooded TV screens leading people to believe the friendship is a harbinger for the Congress to retain its lost glory in the country’s largest state. For many, the showdown to the Lok Sabha polls had already begun then.

But today, as we see the timeline of forthcoming Lok Sabha polls right in front, the friendship between Congress and the Samajwadi Party has gone to the wires with blame games and greediness taking the driver’s seat. The Congress wants nothing less than 23 seats to contest in Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh whereas Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi party is in no mood to allow more than 15 seats for India’s oldest political party. In fact, the Congress went ahead on 4 March and made public a list of candidates for 24 constituencies in the state hurting its big-time savior. How would the alliance finally enter the poll fray is for time and the political brains to decide.

But for us, as they put it — the common man — the season of political marriages has just begun and you can attend the ceremonies uninvited.

Simantik Dowerah

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